Apple Cinnamon Banana Waffles

I’ve been on a serious apple kick lately – partly because it’s Fall and partly because I still have a huge bag of apples left from apple picking two weekends ago.  I’ve made apple crisp and applesauce so far, and last weekend, I used some of them to top banana waffles.  It may be a bit of apple overload, but it was cold and gloomy on Saturday morning, and this was the perfect Fall breakfast to warm me up. 

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For the waffles:

  • Process 1/4 cup of oats in the food processor.  Add in 1 banana, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp almond flour, and cinnamon (optional) and blend well.  For best results, let the batter sit for a few minutes while you heat up your waffle iron, and then pour in the batter once it’s ready.  Let them cook and then remove them.

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For the apple cinnamon topping:

  • Peel, core, and thinly slice an apple.  Put the apple slices into a small saucepan with 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp apple cider, and a dash of cinnamon sugar.  (Okay, I used more than a dash.  I am a cinnamon fiend.)  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let simmer for several minutes, stirring occasionally.  (It’s important to stir or the maple syrup could stick and burn.)  The longer you let the apples cook, the softer they will be, and the more the apples will absorb the flavors of the maple and cinnamon.  Once done, pour topping over waffles and enjoy!  

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If you have some whipped cream and you’re into that sort of thing, I would highly recommend topping these babies with some of that.  I’m pretty sure that’s the only thing that could make them more delicious. 

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What other ways have you been using apples this season?  I need all the ideas I can get!


Honey Nut Apple Crisp

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with all those apples I got from apple picking a couple of weeks ago, and apple crisp was on the top of my list.  It is the quintessential Fall treat, and I feel like everyone should make it at least once every single Autumn. 

With that said, I knew I’d most likely be the only one to eat it unless I brought it somewhere to share, so I didn’t want to make a huge batch loaded with butter and sugar and end up eating it every night for two weeks.  Instead, I did a little thinking and tried to come up with something a lot healthier that could serve as breakfast, dessert, or even a snack.  I was a little nervous to alter the classic original, but I went for it, and I was really pleased with the results.  My version doesn’t taste exactly like traditional apple crisp, but it’s chewy, sweet, and delicious, plus it’s packed with good-for-you ingredients. 

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Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, medium
  • 1 lemon OR 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 c macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 c cashews
  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c almond meal
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400*F
  • Peel, core, and slice apples. 
  • Layer apples in a 9”x9” baking dish.  Drizzle with the juice from the lemon or the apple cider vinegar.  (I didn’t have lemons but I realize a lot of people don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand.)

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  • Pulse macadamia nuts and cashews in a food processor until chopped into small chunks.  (If you don’t have a food processor, just put them in a bag and crush with a cup.  You can chop them as much or as little as you want, according to your tastes.) 

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  • Pour nuts into a medium mixing bowl and add in sunflower seeds and cinnamon.  (Fair warning:  I like a lot of cinnamon.  If you don’t like it as much, you should use less.)

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  • Melt honey and coconut oil and stir together.
  • Pour melted honey and oil into nuts/seeds mixture and mix until combined. 

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  • Layer mixture on top of apples, spreading evenly. 

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  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is crunchy and browned. 

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Store covered in the refrigerator.  This dish is great served warm or cold, as a breakfast, dessert, or snack.  If you want to get really wild, throw a little ice cream on top of there and go to town! 

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Laundromats Are Really Awkward

This weekend was one of my most wonderful friends’ birthday, so we celebrated quite a bit.  I made cupcakes for her on Friday and brought them to work for a little daytime celebration to kick things off. 

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Nothing makes a Friday better like chocolate cupcakes!

Friday night, we went out for lots of birthday celebrations, but my camera didn’t make it out of my bag once.  I guess we were just having too much fun to worry about pictures! 

Saturday, I did some more unpacking/organizing in my new apartment, a little bit of shopping, and a good bit of relaxing.  It’s been pretty cool around here lately, so I whipped up a batch of my baked oatmeal, and it was the perfect hearty, warm, weekend breakfast.  I kept it super simple, using just oats, an egg, almond milk, strawberries, blackberries, and chocolate chunks. 

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Saturday was my friend’s actual birthday, so we went out for dinner and drinks with a couple of her friends from college who were in town visiting, and it was another great night of celebrations.  We went to a brewery in town and I tried their ginger root pale ale with dinner, which was pretty delicious.  I don’t know why every restaurant doesn’t have trivia cards on the table – they make everything more fun!

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For my meal, I went with the pepper jack burger.  It’s been quite a while since I had a burger, and this one totally hit the spot.  Between burgers and cider and oatmeal and cupcakes and Pumpkin beer (oh, how I love Fall!), it was quite the indulgent weekend, but worth every minute! 

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On Sunday, things got back to normal, with groceries, laundry, and meal prep, plus the last of my unpacking.  The weather was cool but beautiful, so I took advantage of it as best I could and rode my bike to the gym around midday.  Including the ride there and back, my workout looked like this:

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On another note, can I just say that laundromats are really awkward?  I had laundry in my building at my old apartment, which was great, but now I have to go to a laundromat down the street to wash my clothes.  I know it’s a normal life thing, and it’s not that big of an inconvenience, but for some reason, I just find it so intrusive.  Washing your clothes seems like such a personal thing to me, and to have to do it in front of a bunch of random strangers is just… weird.  I’m weighing the benefits of going out and buying more clothes so that I only have to go there every once in a while.  I think that sounds like a great plan. 

This week’s meal prep was a lot less awkward, and was actually way more enjoyable than it usually is now that I’m in my new kitchen.  This one is at least twice the size of my old one, with big windows, a great breeze, and plenty of sunshine.  I used to absolutely hate my old kitchen because it was like a dark, hot dungeon, but this one is much better to spend time cooking in, so I’m excited about that. 

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Meal prep for this week consisted of four different things: baked oatmeal, ground turkey with tomatoes and peppers, chicken with zucchini and tomatoes, and chicken with green beans. 

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At the beginning, I actually wasn’t planning on making as much as I did, but once I got going and realized that I didn’t mind being in the kitchen, I just went with it.  This week’s going to be a busy one for me (I’m flying to Florida on Wednesday for the day for work), so now I’m all done.  It didn’t take me long at all, and I know I’ll appreciate it later in the week. 

I feel like the last couple of weeks have been sort of crazy, but I got a lot done this weekend that made me feel much more settled.  Going into a new week, that’s always a good feeling! 

Time to get Monday underway… have a good one!


Greenery

Last Sunday, my friend Michelle and I had a hike planned.  At first, we weren’t sure how the weather would hold up because they were calling for thunderstorms, but we headed out first thing in the morning and ended up missing them all together.   It was sunny but cool, feeling almost like it was already September – the absolute perfect weather for a sweaty hike to the top. 

We took the Dublin trail (which is probably my favorite so far) and we made great time getting to the top.  There are plenty of other trails to try though, and we both decided we’d love to explore as many as we can.  Each one is so different, and there’s so much to see!

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I’ve done the hike several times before, but Sunday’s views were probably some of the most breathtaking I’ve seen.  It wasn’t perfectly clear off into the distance, but I think the clouds lend something special to the picture. 

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Oh hey, Michelle!  Smile

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Since we made even better time getting down than we did getting up, we made it home in the early afternoon, with plenty of day left to enjoy.  I sat (napped) by the pool at my apartment for an hour or so (until thunderstorms woke me up and I had to run for cover) and then spent a little time doing laundry and meal prepping.  It took me less than two hours to do both, and by the end, I had clean clothes and meals for practically the entire week. 

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For dinner, I decided I should probably use up some of the blueberries in my fridge, so blueberry banana spinach pancakes it was! 

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Into the food processor went one banana, two eggs, a crap-ton of spinach, and a tablespoon or so of almond flour.  All those trees on the mountain certainly weren’t the only greenery in my life that day!

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I kept the skillet on low heat and used a little bit of coconut oil to grease it.  I’ve been realizing that coconut flour gives me stomach ache (plus I hate the taste of it), but coconut oil doesn’t seem to bother me.  It’s a great cooking oil, since it resists heat well, and I really can’t taste it, which for me is a bonus.  Bacon, strawberries, and maple syrup rounded things out, and all I could think while eating it was how much I love this meal!

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Between hiking and pancakes, I’d say it was a pretty successful Sunday!


Fill Me Up, Buttercup

On Tuesday morning, it was another really tough workout, and for the first time in a while, I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to finish it.  I started out with things that weren’t so familiar to me, making them all the more challenging, and then the seemingly not-so-bad workout nearly killed me.  50 push presses at 65# was heavy for me, and I felt like I had lead legs by the time I got to the burpees.  I had never done wall walks before, but by that point, I was pretty sure my arms were going to give out on me and I’d end up on my head.  It’s funny, but somewhere along the line, box jumps somehow became one of the easiest elements of a workout.  Who would’ve guessed?

  1. Warm-up and stretch
  2. Snatch:
    1. 1×3 55#, 1×5 75#, 1×5 85#
  3. 1 Clean + 3 Front Squats + 5 Deadlifts x5 @ 105#
  4. Workout:
    1. 50  Push presses @ 65#
    2. 40 Box jump overs
    3. 30 OH squats @ 65#
    4. 20 Burpees
    5. 10 Wall walks
  5. Core (4x):
    1. 25 Swiss ball sit ups
    2. 50 Weighted side bends
  6. Cool down

We are in the middle of a serious heat wave over here this week, so the last thing I wanted Tuesday morning was a hot breakfast.  Instead, I brought cold chicken with cucumbers and grapes, and it was the perfect meal. 

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For lunch, I had baked chicken, zucchini, and tomatoes with Italian spices and crushed red pepper, and I just about melted on the couch at home eating it during lunch!

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For dinner, I wanted to try to use the buttercup squash I bought this week, and I really had no idea what to do with it, but I just went for it.  I’m sure there’s a “right” way to do it, but at the same time, I really don’t think you can mess it up.

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That thing was hard to cut through, but very carefully, I managed to slice off a chunk to cook. 

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I scooped out the seeds and microwaved the pieces for five minutes before baking them in the oven.  I picked up some turkey tenderloins this week too, so one of those went in the oven right alongside the squash. 

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After about 30 minutes, I had my very own super simplified version of Thanksgiving dinner.  (My favorite holiday, by the way.)  I thought about topping the squash with honey or maple syrup, but I wanted to give it a shot on it’s own first.  I definitely think it would’ve been good that way, but it was still sweet by itself.  It wasn’t that much different in texture from butternut squash, but it did have a slightly different taste. 

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The only thing that was missing was cranberry sauce.  Cranberries are hard to find off-season, but some mashed up cranberries would be so good paired with this dish!  Imagine if I baked them right on top of the little squash boats?  Fill me up, buttercup!

After dinner, I got a serious craving for Larabars, but didn’t want to go out to the grocery store, so I decided to give the homemade ones a shot.  First, I mixed up some cashews and dates in the food processor, and next I did peanuts and dates. 

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I got the pieces good and small, and then scooped out the mixture, rolled it into balls, and flattened it into some sort of edible shape. 

DSC_0389 I didn’t know quite how much of each ingredient to use, so I’ll have to play with the amounts.  I’m thinking more dates would mean a stickier mixture, but I’m not sure if that’s actually what would work best or not. 

I threw them in the fridge for a while, and when I was ready to snack on one, I had it alongside some sliced strawberries and grapes. 

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They weren’t half bad for my first try; they tasted just like their Larabar counterparts, and I didn’t even have to leave my own kitchen!


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